Canadian Seafood Stabilization Fund bolsters country’s processing companies

The Canadian government has announced the distribution of more than CAD 10 million (USD 8 million, EUR 6.7 million) to seafood companies harmed by the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Approximately CAD 9.6 million (USD 7.7 million, EUR 6.5 million) has been released to 71 projects in British Columbia, and CAD 530,900 (USD 424,600, EUR 356,300) was given to 18 freshwater projects for 13 companies in the provinces of Alberta, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan, according to a press release from Western Economic Diversification Canada, a government entity focused on economic development, innovation, and community development.

The CAD 62.5 million (USD 44.5 million, EUR 41.1 million) Canadian Seafood Stabilization Fund was established in April 2020 with the objective of security seafood worker health and safety, plant operations, market responsiveness, and storage capacity.

“By bolstering Canada's seafood processing sector, the government of Canada is helping position the national economy for strong, post-pandemic recovery,” Western Economic Diversification Canada said in a press release. “Canada's ocean industries contribute approximately CAD 31.7 billion [USD 25.4 million, EUR 21.3 billion] to Canada's GDP every year, and the government of Canada wants this number to grow. By investing in the fish and seafood processing sector at a critical time, the government of Canada is paving the way for a stronger more resilient blue economy of the future.”

Canadian Economic Development and Official Languages Minister Mélanie Joly said the funding will help the seafood industry continue to operate through unprecedented difficulties caused by the pandemic.

"Canada's food supply is vital to our well-being, and we must protect our front-line workers who deliver that food, including fisheries workers,” Joly said. “We know that social distancing in processing plants can be complicated or even impossible, and that getting the catch to market has sometimes been a challenge. We value our fishers. We value our fisheries. And we continue to support them to remain viable through the pandemic and beyond."

Canadian Minister of Fisheries, Oceans, and the Canadian Coast Guard Bernadette Jordan said the program was working to get money into the hands of seafood processors who need it to comply with the safety issues and market complications created by the pandemic.

"As the daughter of a fish-plant worker, I know how critical seafood processors are to our coastal and rural communities,” Jordan said. “When the pandemic hit, an immediate priority of our government was getting the processing sector the support it needed to keep workers safe and adapt to changing consumer demands. We created the Canadian Seafood Stabilization Fund specifically to address the unique needs of processors, and it's inspiring to see how our partners in British Columbia and across Canada are using these funds to actually strengthen the sector. Through the CSSF, our seafood sector is retooling, rebranding, and finding new markets – all of which will help Canada's national economy build back better."

Photo courtesy of Stephen Bridger/Shutterstock


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